BY ANSELM NORONHA Follow @apnoronha on twitter
Pune FC winger Gabriel Fernandes is excited at the prospect of playing in the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Champions League play-offs as the Red Lizards face Vietnamese side Hanoi T&T on Wednesday.
"It is something that I have to be excited about. I have to treat this like an international match. If I do well here, then I can prove that I can play at a higher level as well," Fernandes told Goal.
Explaining his lack of playing time at Dempo SC and why he chose to Pune in January he said, "My injuries were a reason why I did not get too many opportunities at Dempo. By the time I recovered from my ankle and quadriceps injuries, there were already a couple of players who were doing well in my position."
The Goan was as a substitute in the first two matches of the Federation Cup by Pune FC coach Mike Snoei and when handed a start in the final tie against Churchill Brothers, he responded with a couple of goals.
"I'm played as an attacking right winger here (at Pune FC). To match my style of play also, there are players here like Douhou [Pierre] and Arata [Izumi] who can play through passes," Fernandes mentioned.
On Pune FC's dismal performance in the Cup tournament where they finished at the bottom of the group, he stated that the winter break from Christmas until the third week of January could have come to hurt the side.
"I think the break broke the concentration of the players," he said.
Fernandes also has his eyes set on winning the coveted I-League trophy with Pune FC before returning to Dempo SC.
"Pune FC are currently third. We can win the [I-League] title. We are not too far away and the team is getting set too. The league is open. Everybody has a chance. See how Churchill [Brothers] played [in the Federation Cup]. Dempo has also done well.
“I'll be back at Dempo next season, but now I am with this club (Pune FC). So I want to play well this year and return to Dempo with a title," he concluded.
How do you stay up with football when on the move? With http://m.goal.com –your best source for mobile coverage of the beautiful game.